The professional world is always changing. The skills required to be successful in today’s workforce are vastly different from those needed in the past. According to the same rationale, future occupations will necessitate fundamentally different skills. As existing functions become outdated, new positions will emerge, some of which do not yet have names.
Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation, and less technologically driven disruptions like pandemics suggest that our children’s and grandchildren’s work will be quite different from how we work now. The following decade is expected to be a period of extremely rapid change. According to the World Economic Forum, when jobs are transformed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we will need to reskill more than 1 billion people by 2030. This will apply to both existing employees and those created in the future.
Moreover, the world of work will not survive just on digital and technological skills. Critical thinking, problem-solving, resilience, active learning, and many interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills will all be required in the future workforce. We, here at Sentinel9, have come up with six skills we believe you’ll need to succeed in your future career, regardless of choice.
As technology permeates practically every profession, digital literacy is no longer an option; it is a requirement. Professionals not directly responsible for software development must embrace programming and comprehensive digital literacy, have hands-on data analysis and statistics within their area of responsibility and push towards computational and algorithmic thinking.
STEM is well-known, but have you heard of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud)? Although we may be inundated with digital buzzwords, being digitally literate provides previously unthinkable capabilities in developing technologies such as AI, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT) and data science. Digital ethical underpinnings and awareness of digital systems are two more in-demand digital literacy and fluency abilities that will be required for all roles (e.g. smart systems, cybersecurity, and tech enablement).
Cognitive Flexibility & Storytelling
Flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to learn are the critical talents that will enable businesses and their workforces to embrace and lead change. Companies must invest in cultivating creativity, the ability to adopt multiple views and the ability to translate information to other contexts.
You’ll need to be ready to handle the myriad of opportunities and problems that come with the advent of digital technologies. Do you have the ability to adapt to change and conceptualise numerous complex ideas at the same time? If so, you’re displaying skills that advanced multitaskers possess and that employers and recruiters greatly admire.
Other cognitive skills that are growing in popularity are storytelling and public speaking. These are necessary, universal abilities for connecting companies and their customers, but it’s also useful at work. People may require persuasion before they are willing to make a change. A strong story demonstrates why a change is important and advantageous to a department or company, thus, hiring managers will be looking for people who can tell a compelling tale.
Critical thinking is at the top of the list of the most important skills to nurture for success in this day of fake news, social media bubbles and information overload. Critical thinking entails examining issues and circumstances using evidence rather than hearsay, personal ideas or biases. Critical thinking allows you to challenge the validity of evidence and determine what is true and what is not in a range of scenarios.
Employees will need to work on their interpersonal skills to be successful because mentorship and collaboration among colleagues are critical aspects in building and improving an organisation’s culture. Interpersonal skills such as empathy, humility and sociability will be sought after by organisational leaders. They’ll also look for those who are good at:
- Inclusion encouragement
- Resolving disagreements and working together
- Motivating and empowering others, particularly those with different personality types.
As more companies push their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, selecting people with mindsets geared towards establishing relationships and lifting others is critical.
Self-Management & Self-Leadership
Self-management, maturity and emotional intelligence skills are also being scrutinised. Employees must be able to comprehend their own emotions and triggers, know their own strengths and display self-control, self-motivation and integrity to cover these areas.
Whether the surge in remote work is sustainable remains to be seen, but it doesn’t imply we’re doomed to return to the days of a regimented, 40-hour work week. Employees, on the other hand, expect more flexibility in their jobs.
As a result, employers will need to place a high level of faith in their employees for jobs to be completed efficiently. As a result, self-leadership skills will remain in great demand. People who are goal-oriented and innately motivated will be sought after by organisations. Similarly, persons with entrepreneurial attitudes will be highly valued in the employment market because they are often highly motivated and eager to attempt new things.
Role modelling, creating an inspiring vision and displaying organisational awareness, ownership and decisiveness, grit and persistence, and the ability to handle uncertainty are all in-demand abilities for future leaders.
Curiosity & Continuous Learning
Adopting a mindset of constant learning, regardless of age or industry, is vital to prosper in tomorrow’s workplace. Curiosity and ongoing learning can help you stay adaptable, welcome change, and keep your skills sharp to keep up with today’s major transitions. Do you want to remain relevant to companies while giving yourself the best shot for a successful and meaningful life? Adopt a growth mentality and engage your curiosity.
How Can Educational Institutions Help Students In the Future Workforce?
Universities and educational institutions can improve students’ employability by strengthening engagement with industry, incorporating in-demand skills in courses and focusing on building human skills. While many skills can be gained through traditional classroom cooperation and active learning, companies prefer applicants with job experience over credentials or degrees. This is partly due to the lack of academic programmes for some unique digital skills required today.
More learning institutions offering courses and certifications in these high-demand areas would be beneficial, but it is unlikely to be enough to educate students for the future. Real-life and job experiences are still the most likely to capture a hiring manager’s attention. As a result, higher education institutions should incorporate more experiential learning into their curricula. University curricula might be even more prescriptive by adapting lessons to industry-specific tasks in industries such as wearable technology, nanosensors, the internet of things and mechatronics.
The world has become more competitive. You’re no longer competing for a job with people who live nearby but with an international pool of talent from many backgrounds. We recommend this list of the most in-demand skills as a resource to help you future-proof your career, whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting. After all, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “from adversity comes opportunity.”
We are also rapidly nearing a point in history when traditional education methods will no longer be relevant or useful. Universities and other educational institutions must evaluate what changes they need to make to continue serving their students and teaching them the skills they’ll need for professional success.